Ghana, a fund for mining communities

The Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) has called on government to establish a Mining Community Development Fund to address the infrastructural needs of mining communities. Also, it asked for the ratification of the ILO convention 176 which deals with health and safety in the mine sector.

The union said in that regard, government should issue a clear policy that allowed 30 per cent of the resources obtained from mining royalties to build the fund.

These were contained in a resolution passed at a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting and released to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday in Accra.

It said when established, the fund should be managed by a decentralised community development group selected on a tripartite basis, comprising government, workers and community think tanks.

The managers should emulate the GET fund concept to execute new projects, the union said.

The union requested the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Assembly to create a systematic developmental agenda “aimed at establishing a state of the art teaching hospital that will lead to the establishment of a medical school at the University of Mines and Technology (UMAT)”.

This development agenda, it said, should be instituted through innovative revenue mobilization in addition to the existing mining royalties.

The GMWU further called for expansion of courses run at the UMAT to include social sciences and management to make it more accessible to more people in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality to promote economic growth.

The GMWU called for a legislation that allowed employees benefits to include profits made from mining operations after tax deductions and that “profit share arrangement should be part of the company’s ownership structure procedures”.

It added that the practice pertained elsewhere particularly Mexico and Peru where 10 percent of profits made by operating mining companies was set aside and that should be replicated in Ghana to deepen the purse of mineworkers.

“The existing arrangement where share options are paid only to selected management staff as a means of retaining and securing their future should be extended to the ordinary mineworker as well.”

It commended Goldfields Ghana Limited and Ghana Manganese Company Limited for their “negotiated profit sharing arrangement with the union, although inadequate.”

GMWU also called on the government to adequately resource the State Housing Company (SHC), to enable it to carry out its original mandate of providing affordable housing for Ghanaians.

Furthermore, government should allow the SHC to partner with STX and any other such deals in future to revive “this technically competent but dormant company,” the union added.

It appealed to government to engage the union on the ratification process of the ILO convention 176 which deals with health and safety in the mines in view of the important and sustainable role mineworkers played towards building the economy.

This was essential against the background that mining operations were very susceptible to occupational hazards, the union said.

GNA

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